Welcome to Laeti's Tribe with my first guest, Emily Graham, who brings us a very interesting topic this week.
Even if I believe that everybody should have the choice of their own life, sometimes, circumstances force you to embrace a more difficult path that stretches out your limitations & reveal your incredible potential.
And dads are more capable than they think they are to raise amazing children...
Emily Graham is the creator of Mighty Moms. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life. On her site, she offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms -- from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family.
One of the most difficult challenges for a single father is relating to a daughter who’s going through puberty. It’s an uncomfortable subject for many dads, whether they’re single or married. Without a mother to guide her through it, a young girl will struggle to understand what’s happening to her body if Dad isn’t up to the job.
Everyone understands that menstruation and the physiological changes that occur during puberty are perfectly natural and needn’t be a source of awkwardness and embarrassment. But single fathers sometimes are just too uncomfortable to talk about it openly. What’s needed is a fresh perspective, an open mind, and an honest approach to what can be a very difficult subject.
Here are the following tips (from a woman’s perspective) that every single dad needs to know.
Don’t put it off
Delaying the conversation is how many single fathers cope with the situation, but it’s one of the worst things you can do. By waiting, you may traumatize your daughter, who doesn’t know what to expect or what to do when her body starts changing. Putting it off also sends the wrong message, giving your daughter the impression that puberty and menstruation are taboo subjects that should be avoided.
Begin a dialogue early on so your child understands that it’s normal and healthy when her body begins to change. Explain to her that nothing is wrong when her breasts begin to develop or if she needs to use deodorant. Be open and direct about what will happen when she gets her first period, but in a healthy and reassuring context. Remember that your daughter’s less likely to be frightened if she knows what to expect.
Often, single fathers lose sight of the fact that young girls are insecure about their bodies, and that even the slightest details can make them anxious and emotional. It’s important to know the difference between a young lady with a healthy body image and one who may be struggling with a serious issue like an eating disorder. As a man, your instinct may be to tell her she’s just being silly, that she should forget about whatever is making her feel imperfect. You don’t want to invalidate the way she’s feeling or confuse her. Instead, reassure her that all’s well and that girls develop at their own pace and in different ways. The more supportive you can be, the easier it’ll be for her to accept her appearance and the changes that she’s experiencing.
Don’t force the conversation
When you’re a single dad with a daughter, a little tact and sensitivity goes a very long way. Talking about menstruation in front of her friends or in public may not scar her for life, but it’ll certainly be upsetting and may erode her trust in you. A private, comfortable and non-threatening setting, one that’s free of things that could cause stress, is best, whether it’s in her room or wherever she’s most comfortable. If there are siblings running around (especially boys), be careful to keep your conversation out of earshot.
Don’t force the conversation on her. If she’s not ready to talk about it, she’ll let you know. Also, use body language (the way she places her arms, the position of her head, etc.) to look for non-verbal clues of discomfort.
Be honest with her about everything, even about how the subject makes you feel. If you’re uncomfortable, admit it. Your daughter will appreciate your openness, and she’s more likely to respond positively.
The ‘D’ word
For many parents, drug use is a more uncomfortable subject than menstruation or sex. Parents are often reluctant to bring up drug and alcohol use for fear that it’ll pique their child’s curiosity, or because they might find out that their son or daughter is already involved with illegal substances. But it’s a crucial subject, one that needs to be raised even if it’s only to begin a dialogue and stress the importance of making good decisions when it comes to avoiding drugs and alcohol. Like any other sensitive subject, drug use is something that’s best discussed confidentially and in private. Let your daughter know that you won’t share anything she tells you.
Raising a daughter as a single father can be a difficult job. Communication is essential. Talk to your daughter even if she’s reluctant. Let her know you’re willing to have a conversation anytime she’s ready. Remember, patience and an open mind are your best allies!
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